By Adam Madison
Triplicate staff writer
Crescent City veterans, local residents and Memorial Day travelers saw the SS Emidio Memorial right-side-up for the first time in 56 years on Monday at a re-dedication ceremony.
Guy Towers, president of the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society and Terry McNamara spearheaded the restoration project. Towers and McNamara were responsible for sand-blasting, repainting and helping set the memorial back on its legs.
Referring to the remodeling of the memorial, Towers those gathered at the ceremony, "It was a labor of love."
Towers also gave the nitty-gritty on sand-blasting, joking about the "strange odd places that sand can emerge from your body."
McNamara's front yard was the home of the Emidio for two-and-a-half months. McNamara said that after the work on the memorial was done, "we didn't want to give it up."
Chris Howard, president of Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce, began the dedication with a speech about Del Norte residents as "people coming together to complete projects."
Refering to the 42 100-pound bags of sand used for the sand-blasting, Howard jokingly said that there is a "special beach area outside Terry's house." He also introduced special SS Emidio postcards, designed by Harvey Raider, that list the companies and organizations involved with the project.
Crescent City Mayor Dennis Burns read a speech thanking the veterans and the people who took part in the remodeling, telling the audience that "most of all, remember that freedom is not free."
Veteran Larry Wallin spoke, reminding the attendees of the importance of Merchant Marines, and that they did not receive veteran status until 1987.
Bill O'Donnell, also a veteran, read a speech about the importance of remembering those who have died in the service and a story of a Merchant Marine who died protecting his ship.
Colleen Bruhy added to the ceremony by singing The Star-Spangled Banner' and then christening the Emidio breaking a bottle of champagne on its hull.
The Memorial, which was repainted "The SS Emidio," was torpedoed and bullet-riddled 200 miles south of Crescent City during World War II. It ultimately came to rest on Steamboat rock. In 1951, it was declared a landmark, with a piece of its hull placed on the southwest corner of Front and H Streets.